New year, New beginnings and Inkwell

Hurrahh! we got through it didn’t we? 

I’m afraid I’m not a huge fan of Christmas, I find it quite disturbing how commercial and financially driven the whole thing has become. The hoards of shoppers, the stress, the expense, the pressure to have a good time, to get it right and to celebrate to such an excess. For many people I know it is a horrible time of year, dredging up memories and negative feelings such as inadequacy, loneliness and the immense pressure to be ‘happy’ seems completely unavoidable.

So coming out the other side into a brand New Year is always a relief, especially this year as I really have something to look forward to.

Shannon Post Card Back final

2014 will undoubtedly be an exciting year for me and I am looking forward to a new chance in life. In 2009 I joined an art project called Inkwell which has offered me opportunities both as an artist and a person which have turned my life around. Inkwell surrounded me with positivity and creativity and gave me a second chance for a bright future. It’s like a beacon on a dark day, helping you find your way by offering hope, support and kindness.

I have always kept aspects of my life private, in particular my struggle with my mental health. I suppose I didn’t want to be tarnished with this label, I wanted to be considered an artist first and foremost and to be taken seriously as one. It’s sad that in this day and age that mental health still has such a stigma attached to it, a stigma that makes you want to hide the very core of how you feel or the daily struggles you may face even though 1 in 4 of us will suffer at some point.

Inkwell Arts

 So, a new future begins tomorrow as tomorrow I start my new job as Inkwell’s Development Worker. As part of my new role I hope to help others flourish as artists and individuals on their journey to recovery. There is so much exciting stuff that happens at Inkwell and to be a part of it’s development will be both an honour and a pleasure.

With my new job offering a definite weekly routine I hope to succeed not only at my job but to continue with my personal creative outlet Wire Moon. Exciting plans are afoot for my jewellery and art in 2014. On my to do list this year: approach the Leeds Central Craft Gallery and other craft retailers to hopefully feature and sell my work and I’m planning a solo exhibition in the Autumn collaborating with media artists to create an animation as well as my own installation work.

However, most importantly, I want to dedicate time to practice and develop my art and jewellery skills and to continue to gain pleasure from expressing myself in this way. Creativity is my way of coping. It helps relieve stress and pressure, taking me to a place within me that is safe and fulfilling.

A year that is fulfilling? That sounds like a great year!

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